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HârnLore 4
HârnLore 4
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d4-d4 Main Book
Publisher: Better Mousetrap Games
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/04/2005 00:00:00


The PDF itself is 89 pages laid out in a single column. The fonts are readable with color being used for section titles. Colored text boxes are used to highlight rules options and notes. It is serviceable and readable, with nothing especially artistic or beautiful about it. The artwork is primarily clip art and thus not much to look at. It includes a brief index.


The game describes itself as being best for modern or future campaigns, of relatively short duration. As longer campaigns will result in the character's breaking the system by becoming too proficient.

The game itself is based around a trait description ladder, modified by a roll of D4-D4. In this it is reminiscent of FUDGE. The basic system itself is solid and workable, and easy to use. You modify your character's trait rating up or down a number of steps on the trait rating ladder (listed on the character sheet) based on the roll of the D4-D4. So if the roll of the D4 is +2, I would adjust my trait rating up two rungs on the trait description ladder, say from Fair to Good, this result then becomes my performance rating. So I would have achieved a good performance on my action. I would compare this to the difficulty rating of the act to determine if I succeed. If I only needed an ordinary result, my good performance would result in success, for instance. The bulk of the game is simply elaborations on this basic mechanic.


Character creation is fairly detailed, but light on number crunching, requiring you to consider elements of your character's background, figuring the details of his appearance and considering his personality elements. These personality elements include philosophy, demeanor, habits & mannerisms, likes, dislikes, and ambitions. The bulk of the rather light crunch is in defining your character's Traits. Traits includes common character skills as well as attribute like qualities, such as agility, as well as some advantages such as absolute direction. If a character doesn't define one of his assumed qualities then it takes a rating of ordinary. That is, you only consider attribute like qualities when they are extraordinary, bad or good, in some way.

Traits are of one of three types, anyone traits, specialist traits, and bad stuff. Anyone traits are traits that anyone is capable of performing, jumping or running for instance, these default to ordinary. Specialist traits are traits in which you must have some training in order to perform, Karate or Brain Surgery for instance. Bad stuff are traits that hinder your character in some manner.

You receive 20 levels (Depending on power level) to spend on your character's traits, raising them up from ordinary for anyone traits, or buying them at ordinary for specialist traits. You can take up to 5 levels of Bad Stuff, gaining you that many extra levels to spend on your other abilities. Bad Stuff here covers the typical disadvantages you find in most systems.


The combat rules are serviceable and workmanlike. D4-D4 is out of step with most RPG rules in that it discusses the psychological trauma associated with killing another human being. It provides rules for requiring a trait test by your character to actively try to kill another character in combat. Again, something that isn't discussed in most RPG's. The author even takes time to point out that detailed weapon stats and rules are not included with instead the focus of combat supposed to be on the effects of combat on the character, psychologically.

Combat itself is a series of trait tests pitting your weapon skill against the opponents Dodge (Speed) or Parry score. Damage is of one of two types, stab or bash. With Stab being the more deadly and harder to heal. It should be noted that the rules don't include a death spiral, penalties for injuries are not suffered till after combat has ended. The character must only avoid incapacitation, being knocked down and knocked out, during combat without having to suffer penalties for injury received. Shock and survival is determined after combat has ended by making a test against a difficulty based on the level of wounds suffered during the combat.

The combat system doesn't go into great detail with regards to maneuver or tactics, movement and facing and such being handled abstractly and represented by applying a penalty to an attacker's trait test to hit in combat where appropriate, as determined by the GM. There are no detailed rules for firing automatic weapons, explosives, or fully automatic shotguns. It is a simple, lite combat system for those more interested in narrative than crunch.


This chapter provides an interesting and conversational discussion of issues of game style. It also discusses finding a gaming group and keeping one. Readers will also find references to several gamerisms, such as Cat Piss Men. Internet gaming is also discussed, a task that D4-D4 is well suited for.


This chapter provides a brief discussion of the elements of games that engage players, and how to provide those to the players as the GM. It also discusses issues of character gain and character death.

This chapter also issues some tongue-in-cheek advice to provide a sometimes good, sometimes bad gaming experience to keep players involved. Pointing out the infrequent reward as keeping players addicted, much like gambling.


To summarize, D4-D4 is good. It is a solid and workmanlike system based around a descriptive and narrative style of mechanics. Players looking for crunch and detail will be disappointed, but those wanting a simple system to run a game with will find themselves quite pleased.

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Easy to understand text. Quick and easy to understand Mechanics. Interesting character creation options <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: System is rather light on detail, with little crunch. Guns & other weapons are are given little detail, and thus any gun is much like another.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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d4-d4 Main Book
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